The Canon S5 IS in Costa Rica

Powershot S5 IS Specs:

  • 12x Optical Zoom/4x Digital Zoom/48x combined
  • Equivalent of 36-432mm
  • 8.3 Mega Pixels
  • Max Aperture:  f/2.7 (W) – f/3.5 (T)
  • Shutter Speeds:  15-1/3200 sec.
  • ISO 80/100/200/400/800/1600
  • Exposure Comp:  +/-2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
  • SD card
  • Image Stabilization
Toe biter!
Toe biter!

These were the main reasons I chose the S5 for this trip.  I didn’t want to lug around SLR gear.  However, when I do it again, the SLR gear is going.  The S5 was much better than a basic point and shoot camera, but I’ve been spoiled by SLR systems.  I wasn’t happy with the S5’s ISO performance over ISO 200.  The f2.7aperture is only available at the widest zoom, and I love to shoot wide open on longer focal lengths.  Most of the photos I took with this camera were either macro or landscape.  I had quite a few opportunities to shoot monkeys, birds, and insects but the lighting was never good enough for the S5 and ended up with a lot of blurry shots.

Grabbing a bite in Tamarindo
Grabbing a bite in Tamarindo

Costa Rica is a sunny place, but when you’re in the jungle the vegetation is so thick not much light penetrates it.  If you want to shoot wildlife, that’s the place to be.

On the next trip, I’ll be packing a 1D body with a 70-200mm f2.8 zoom and a general purpose wide zoom.

IS (Canon’s Image Stabilization) system is definitely a must.  Things happen quickly when walking through the jungle and there usually isn’t time to setup a tripod.  If you’re taking this trip for the photography, I’d definitely bring a flash.  I like to travel with the Canon 430ex because of its size and quick recycle time.

If you haven’t been spoiled by a SLR system, then I would recommend the Canon S5 IS.  If you have been spoiled, and can’t pack the good gear, then maybe the new Canon G8 will work better for you.

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